The Female Highwayman
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

Rev. S. Baring-Gould collected this song in Dorset. It is in his manuscripts (1890) under the name The Lady Turned Highwayman. It probably originated in England. Variants are found in Ireland, Canada, Australia and America.

Variants and alternate titles include: Silvy, Silvie, Wexford City, Gold Watch and Chain, Nelly Ray, Sovay, Sovie, Sovie, Silvia's Request and William's Denial and Pretty Sylvie Rode Out One Day.

Silvy, Silvy, all on one day,
She dressed herself in man's array,
A sword and pistol all by her side,
To meet her true love she did ride.

She met her true love all in the plain,
'Stand and deliver, kind sir,' she said,
'Stand and deliver, kind sir,' said she,
Or else this moment you shall die.'

Oh, when she'd robbed him of all his store,
She says, 'Kind sir, there's one thing more,
A diamond ring which I know you have,
Deliver that, your sweet life to save.'

'The diamond ring is a token won,
I will keep it if my life I lose;'
She being tender hearted just like a dove,
She rode away from her true love.

Next morning in the garden green,
O like true lovers they were seen;
He saw his watch hang by her clothes,
Which made him flush like a red rose.

'What makes you flush at so silly a thing,
I fain would have had your diamond ring,
I only did it for to know,
Whether you were a man or no.'

Related Links
From A Selection of Collected Folk Songs, Vol. 1
Sam Henry's Songs of the People
Folksongs of Britain and Ireland
See Bibliography for full information.